Funding gap forces closure of Quest University in Squamish
A private university in Squamish, BC, will close its doors at the end of the current academic year due to lack of funds.
A statement on Quest University’s website says the suspension of the academic program will allow the board and executive branch “to focus on restructuring finances and operations.”
“While Quest continues to evaluate funding opportunities and remains hopeful, it has not been able to secure additional funds for ongoing operations beyond the spring. Therefore, the Board concluded that it had no choice but to make the responsible decision that is before it at this time.”
The statement said the university will evaluate “when it may be able to resume future enrollments and the full academic program.”
Founded in 2007, Quest’s academic focus is on the liberal arts and sciences.
Graduates will have a ceremony later this spring
Students graduating from Quest this spring will be able to attend a graduation ceremony on April 29th.
The statement said the school’s focus in the coming months will be on helping current students complete their programs, or making alternative arrangements.
Prospective students who paid application fees or completed enrollments for September 2023 will receive a refund, the university said.
Faculty, staff and other staff, meanwhile, will be “updated over the coming days on the impact of these changes based on their individual circumstances.”
Quest was important to the community: District of Squamish
The District of Squamish says it is “sad and disappointed” to hear of the closure.
“The university’s uniqueness and presence has been valued by the district, and its strong ties to the community have made important contributions to the Squamish of today,” the statement said. “The district is confident that funding opportunities will be available for future repeat operations.”
In the same statement, Squamish Mayor Armand Hurford added: “We have believed for more than 20 years that Quest is an incredibly unique and special organization and it is difficult and disappointing to hear of this next step in the journey. We remain hopeful while at the same time discussing the interests of the district in this next chapter.”
Quest was well below capacity
While Quest’s website says the school has a capacity of 750 students, BC’s Department of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills puts the current enrollment at 135.
In a statement, the ministry said it is not providing any funds to Quest but considers protecting its current students a priority.
“The Department holds financial security from Quest to ensure students receive a refund if they have paid tuition for education they did not receive,” the statement said.
The ministry says students can either graduate this spring or transfer to other schools, such as Capilano University in North Vancouver.
The University of British Columbia, the University of Victoria and Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops “will also recognize credits for transfer to their institutions,” the department said.
Because 60 percent of Quest students are U.S. citizens, they have the opportunity to “attend a number of U.S. universities with similar programs that fully recognize Quest program credits,” the department said.